Lewis Hulatt, Consultant Solicitor with Major Family Law, Divorce and family law specialists, based in Surrey, comments:

Since my last blog, the ‘Oscars’ made their annual splash which got me thinking about family life in the movies, so I pick five films on the theme of relationship problems:

Better start well, so my first is the Oscar-winning ‘Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?’   Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor play a long-married couple.  Compelling viewing, it shows that the complex ‘rules’ of domestic bickering are not easily understood by others.

Scariest for people heading into marriage must include ‘War of the Roses’ which took marital disharmony to a jaw-dropping level.  When you combine the son of a Viking (Michael Douglas) and a woman drawn to being bad (Kathleen Turner) then the recipe is spicy.  Naga chilli hot.  With fish.  In real life, I have known of couples dividing their homes rather than move apart.

Perhaps my favourite of these films is ‘Shirley Valentine’ – the brilliantly-written Willy Russell comedy about a marriage on the point of collapse.  There is a confrontation where Bernard Hill violently rejects the meal cooked for him by his weary wife because he only likes chips and egg “on a Tuesday”.  Not easy being married to royalty.   I had a case where sausages were thrown at the wall because, as an evening meal, they were “Poor people’s food” and thus beneath the husband’s status.  He was a chauffeur, not King Theoden.

What with it having been Mothering Sunday (alternatively Mothers’ Day) another comedy that is surprisingly thought-provoking is Steve Martin’s ‘Parenthood’ which culminates with a rather over-crowded maternity ward.   Grandma (nonagenarian actress Helen Shaw) sagely brings some perspective to struggling younger spouses by observing that in life some people “went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”   More cryptic than ‘for better or for worse’ but eloquent.

And number 5?

In ‘Total Recall’ as Sharon Stone seems to be about to lose a gunfight, she reminds her opponent “Sweetheart, we’re married…” which faster-shot Schwarzenegger answers with “Consider THAT a divorce!”.  Only in the movies would THAT be a viable alternative to a Petition.  (see Mr & Mrs Pitt Smith for Brangelina’s confirmation.)   No mention of ‘Blade Runner’ despite this being about Oscars.

Domestic strife in the movies is as complex as real life, but the award-winning Major Family Law team are aware that each family needs bespoke attention.

Enjoy the movies.